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Open Data Has Been a Boon for City Governments

March 8, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The recent push from cities to release open data is great for residents, but it can be a boon for municipal governments, too. Take the case of billboards in Chicago. Many of the city's commercial real estate owners have skipped the lengthy procedure of obtaining a billboard permit and just ...

City Life Changes How Our Brains Deal With Distractions

January 30, 2013 City life requires a lot of attention. Navigating a busy sidewalk while processing loud storefronts and avoiding rogue pigeons may feel like second-nature at times, but it's actually quite a bit of work for the human brain. Psychologists do know that quick walks through the park can restore our focus, ...

Would we leave disaster-prone cities in the absence of FEMA?

November 9, 2012 Hurricane Sandy highlighted a number of problems that U.S. cities face in the era of climate change. Development has pushed up to the coastline in a way that strikes some as "foolish."Plans for sea walls and storm protections have been met with a lack of urgency. A push for urban ...

Seeing the train as a 'mobile office'

July 23, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow If you're evaluating a commute or an intercity work trip on travel time alone, the train doesn't always look so great. Annoying as traffic can be, driving is usually quicker from home door to office desk. And while it can take a while to reach an airport, once you're en ...

Surveillance cameras could make us better people

June 25, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Exhibit A for the "cities are mean" thesis is the 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese in Queens. Two weeks after the killing, The New York Times ran a story called "Thirty-Eight Who Saw Murder Didn't Call the Police," suggesting that dozens of witnesses did nothing to stop the gruesome event. ...